Setting realistic career goals might be easier than you think…
Career goals define what you want for the future in terms of your working life. You set goals that you want to achieve and possibly notes on how you’re going to achieve them.
Setting goals are different for everyone. Everyone defines it differently.
Some people define it as a promotion or moving up within their company. For some, it could be the career itself – their “dream job”. Others may have ambitions to change their industry for the better.
Simply put, career goals are very personal to an individual. You decide what you want to achieve.
You might already have a career goal and don’t even know it. If so, hopefully we can shed some light on them.
Short Term vs Long Term
Short term goals are achievements that could be done within a short time frame. This is likely to be a goal that can be completed within days or maybe even weeks.
These little goals or achievements will all add up to help you achieve the perfect end result – in theory, anyway. It’s important to be mindful that just because they are short term goals doesn’t mean they are not relevant to the bigger picture
Long term goals can be harder to achieve. These aren’t everyday tasks you assign to yourself and expect a great outcome by the end of the day or week.
These types of goals need to be thought out and meticulously planned in order to achieve your desired outcome. For some people, their long term goals may be finally landing their dream career, or progressing within their industry, or possibly starting their own business.
All of these long term goals generally come from hard work, and achieving the short term goals you set yourself.
Both are very important when it comes to setting, developing and ultimately achieving set objectives.
How to set a Career Goal?
Some people can feel a little intimidated by the thought of setting a career goal. Some may not know how to set these goals or what they should consider when setting them. But, it’s often not as daunting as you’d think.
When setting goals, it’s important to think S.M.A.R.T.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based. It’s often seen as the most desirable formula for objective-setting. As such, the perfect career goal will consider all of these factors!
Your goals need to be specific. Without this, the objectives that you set may not be achieved within the timeframe you want. Or the outcome won’t be quite what you desired.
Take this as an example: your goal is to set up a leaving away party for a colleague. You’ve arranged everything from the design of the cake to having everyone sign a farewell card. However, you weren’t specific when ordering the cake and people in the office have dietary requirements. Not everyone was able to enjoy themselves. The farewell party was okay but could have gone a lot better.
You need to be specific because if you’re not, then there’s a high likelihood that you won’t meet your goals. And no one wants that!
To make your goals measurable is to not hide anything from yourself or whoever you’re working with.
Now, it might sound strange but yes you can definitely hide things from yourself! People can hide things physically (not doing chores and moving them to a different room) or mentally (forgetting or distracting yourself from the situation at hand).
Your goals should be able to be measured and progress should be tracked. This will give you a visualisation of what you’ve done, are currently doing and what the overall big picture is. By doing this, you’re giving yourself a sense of accomplishment when tasks are completed, as well as accountability when goals are not met. You will be able to see what went wrong along the way and then adjust from there. It makes your life a lot easier.
You need to question yourself when setting career goals. Is this attainable? If it is, then great! If it’s not, then why? How do you make it attainable? Do you need to do more research or do you need smaller, short-term goals to work towards your original goals?
People tend to get excited about what they’re passionate about and that is completely normal. But you need to make sure that it is attainable. If you rush into things then there’s a strong possibility that it’ll result in failure, or it could turn into something you’d rather it didn’t. Be sure to be realistic when setting your goals. This way there won’t be any delay or mishaps.
It’s all well and good setting your goals but are they relevant or realistic to achieve? Are these goals relevant to you and can they be achieved realistically?
There are many possibilities and opportunities when it comes to your career. However, you need to be mindful of other factors besides you, your passion and your ambition. Look at your current situation. For example, your goal may be to progress within the company you work with. However, there may not be a higher position open or there may be financial issues that dictates no further promotions.
In this situation, it will be unlikely that you’d achieve your original goal. So, it may be time to adjust your goals to align with the company’s position.
Time is definitely a factor when setting career goals. You may have a list of things you want to achieve in your career and that is great, however, can you possibly achieve all of them in the timeframe you want.
We all have that issue of being really excited for something and immediately say yes to making sure that thing becomes a reality. We may disregard or forget other responsibilities that we have already committed to prior. This could lead to the outcome not being completely what you wanted as you did not have the time to complete as you’d like. This could affect your long terms you have set.
How do you achieve your career goals?
To achieve your goals you must first be realistic of your own capabilities and mindful of time.
There are many factors why goals fail or are delayed. It is important to be mindful that goals change, especially long term. The goal that you set for yourself one year ago may not be relevant now. You might find yourself wanting a new career, a different position, or perhaps a change in your development..
People change their minds, what you are passionate about might have changed and therefore that goal you set is irrelevant. It is important to note this is completely normal. Check your goals every now and then. Make sure that this is something that you still want for your career.
Don’t be discouraged if the goal you have set has not been achieved yet.
Keep working on it!